SINGAPORE—Gina “Conviction” Iniong has absolutely no misgivings about returning so soon to the cage two weeks after her spectacular victory over Indonesian Priscilla Hertati Lumbangaol.
Iniong finished her foe in two rounds in front of a raucous hometown crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena last November 10 at ONE: Legends of the World.
She returns to the cage on Friday, to face ONE Championship top contender Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi in a three-round atomweight encounter at ONE: Immortal Pursuit at the state-of-the-art Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Iniong takes the spot of ONE Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee, who withdrew from her title defense against Yamaguchi after suffering injuries from a car accident nearly two weeks ago.
Iniong is hopeful that a victory over Yamaguchi will earn her a title shot against Lee. She battles Yamaguchi on the main card in Singapore three and a half years after she pulled off a split decision victory over the same fighter.
“I will face whoever ONE Championship wants me to face. I am ready, anytime. But I have my eye on the champion, and I want that belt. That is my ultimate motivation, to become world champion,” said Iniong.
“That is why I joined this organization (ONE Championship), to showcase my skills and to prove to the world that I have what it takes to be the best. My opponent is a good striker, so I have no doubt that this will be an entertaining contest.”
The Team Lakay standout has a clear vision in her mind when she faces the dangerous Yamaguchi.
“I will try to finish my fight in with a first-round knockout or submission. This is an opportunity to put me closer to my dream. I am giving everything that I have to get my hand raised this Friday,” she said.
Iniong has been a professional martial artist for the past seven years. She is a six-time national Wushu champion in the Philippines and has extensive experience in the Muay Thai circuit. Like the typical oriental fighter Iniong is quiet and reserved.
“Although I have been in this game long, I am still very shy. I do not think I will ever get used to talking to a large group of people. Speaking my mind and sharing my thoughts is a lot scarier than being inside that cage. I prefer to let my fists do the talking,” she said.
This has been a very busy year for Iniong who enters the cage for the third time this year. The 28-year-old fighter battered Natalie Gonzales Hill en route to a unanimous decision victory this past April.